Home loan variable-rates drop below 0.5%

Sony Bank will reduce their variable home loan interest rates to 0.499% from April 2016. With the exception of banks offering campaign discounts, this makes Sony the first bank to reduce rates below the 0.5% range. After the Bank of Japan introduced negative interest rates in February, retail banks have been lowering interest rates offered to consumers. Until recently, banks were only reducing interest rates on fixed-rate loans, but it is now spreading to variable rate plans as well.

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BOJ’s minus interest rate may result in lower home loan rates

Following the Bank of Japan’s surprise announcement to set interest rates at minus 0.1%, Japan’s retail banks have started to make moves to lower home loan interest rates.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFJ), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Resona Bank plan to reduce the prime rate on their 10-year fixed-rate home loans by 0.05 points to 1.05%.

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Banks to reduce interest rates in September

Five of Japan’s mega-banks will reduce interest rates on home loans this month due to increased competition and a relatively low long-term government bond yield.

The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFJ) and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) will reduce their prime rate for a 10-year fixed-rate mortgage by 0.1 points to 1.20%. Mizuho Bank will reduce their 10-year fixed-rate by 0.05 points to 1.20%.

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Banks to increase home loan rates this month

Several of Japan’s mega-banks plan to increase home loan interest rates this month. The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ will increase the prime interest rate on their 10-year fixed-rate home loan by 0.10 points to 1.35% for loans approved in July, while Mizuho plan to increase their rate by 0.05 points to 1.30%. Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank also plan to increase their prime rate by 0.05 points to 0.95%.

This is the second month to see an increase in interest rates The three banks have no plans to change their variable rates.

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, June 26, 2015.
Jiji Press, June 26, 2015.

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New home loan product for married couples

From April 13, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) began offering a new type of home loan for married couples that offers an additional life insurance component. In the event that one of the spouses dies during the term of the loan, the surviving spouse, who must also be a borrower, will be exempt from paying off the remainder of the loan.

The loan was introduced to cater to a growing number of families with two working spouses. According to the Japan Institute for Labour Policy and Training, there were 10.65 million double-income households in Japan, up 10% over the past 10 years. Almost 20% of SMBC’s home loan clients are borrowing in both spouses names.

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Home loan interest rates rise in April

This month, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation will increase the prime interest rate on their 10-year fixed-rate home loans by 0.05 points to 1.25%. Mizuho will also increase their prime rate by 0.05 points to 1.20%. This is the second month in a row to see an increase in interest rates.

Resona will leave their prime rate at 1.20%

The minimum interest rate under the Japan Housing Finance Agency’s ‘Flat 35’ loan has increased for the second month in a row to 1.54% for loans with a term of less than 35 years. For loans less than 20 years, the minimum rate is 1.31%.

Sources:
The Nikkei Shimbun, April 1, 2015.
The Sankei Shimbun, March 31, 2015.

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Tokyo Star Bank offering Japan home loans to Taiwanese residents

Tokyo Star Bank is now offering financing for the purchase of real estate in Japan. The loans are available for qualified Taiwanese residents only.

The bank can provide financing for up to 60% of the value of the property and up to a maximum amount of 500 million Yen. Interest rates are around 2%. Loans can only be made to private borrowers using their own name and not companies.

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